Quicker steering for a '64? - Impala Tech
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quicker steering for a '64?

Does anyone know of a painless way to quicken the steering on my '64 Impala? I have been told that the stock box can be rebuilt with different gears. Is there any truth to this and where?
...or is there a replacement box that can be installed that will still use the hydraulic assist cylinder, valve and drag link?
I have considered shorter steering arms (Corvair Yenko Stinger) but I doubt that there is sufficient clearance. ...or even a 67 Corvette box, but I believe it is geared backwards.
Any ideas?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 04:57 PM
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Corvette parts interchange (not familar with turning backwards part) and are faster turning than the stock Impala. They are rarer and much more expensive than Chevy parts. I personally have not played with the old ram assist steering, So I really can not help as to what is your best solution.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 11:51 PM
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I am told these guys do what you want.

http://lee-powersteering.com/steering-gears.htm

I have not followed up on it, but may someday. I keep waffling on the subject. All that cranking around on the steering wheel is not as safe and responsive. On the other hand it is part of what makes driving an old car unique.



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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 09:27 AM
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Just so that we are on the same page.
1964 Chev B-cars had a linkage booster system. The manual gear on the B-car is not the same gear as the Corvette. The Corvette has a unique housing and no chance that it will fit a B-car. I am sure that the "guts" from a Corvette manual gear will NOT interchange into a B-car manual gear housing.

The 1964 control valve attached to the linkage is the same as the Corvette.

I do not know if the assist cylinder is the same or not. The power steering hoses may have been the same as Corvette.

In 1965 the Chev B-car converted to the integral, recirculating ball, power steering gear. This power gear has the same housing as millions of other GM passenger cars (but not Corvette.) I do not know if a 1965+ power steering gear will bolt into a 1964 and earlier B-car. It possibly can bolt in.


Sorry that I am not much help as to exactly what will interchange.

Jim
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 10:03 AM
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 10:03 AM
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Many people have converted their X-frame 1958-'64 Chevy's over to the 1965 and up fully self contained Saginaw 600 series of power steering gear boxes out of mid eighties and newer cars and light trucks. I do not know if they share the same bolt pattern (direct bolt in), but if not the Saginaw 600 box has a flat surface with four lugs that only requires four holes to bolt the gear box to the frame.

Where you will have issues is with the steering column mating to the gear box but I am sure there exist rag joints that will mate the two together. If not you could make one out of the existing parts you have and an old truck tire. (the hoses on the newer boxes are also metric with O-ring seals, but there are adapters for that problem as well).

As stated above the old power assist steering on these cars is just that, an assist. The car has a manual gear box (which takes many turns so that granny Goodwitch has the torque multiplication needed to drive her car to church on Sunday) that has a hydraulic spool valve attached to the input; actuating a hydraulic slave cylinder, so that Granny Goodwitch could parallel park on Monday with just her pinky finger, to buy herself a new pair of lace gloves.

These cars where not designed to be race cars, but soft, smooth riding barges with foam rubber for suspension that wallows with terminal under steer (it was so bad you could peel a tire off the rim in an emergency swerve). If you want to "improve" upon the suspension's handling then I would abandon what Chevy used back in the early sixties as it's design premise is contrary to your intended goal.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 11:29 PM
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We had a junk 94 Caprice Police car, we put the steering box off of it on our 61. 2 1/4 turns lock to lock. It was originally 4 1/2 turns lock to lock. It is a huge improvement. We bought a mounting bracket from Hubbards and had to notch the radiatior as the box is much bigger than the original box. It took some work but it was well worth the effort.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input, folks. I was looking for an easier way and had hoped to be able to use the stock steering box. Todays tires work so much better and I already have 1 1/14 inch Hotchkis bars front and rear. Since it already handles and steers MUCH better than 'back in the day', I will probably leave it alone.
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